(In Progress) Precepts Important to Believing in My Blog - About Neuroplasticity

Tibetan Monks have had their brains scanned, and as a result of studies, it's been proven neuroplasticity extends to later in life.  In other words, people can and do change the structure and function of their brains after they "grow up."

Some links follow, but if you search the Internet for these words you will find similar ones: neuroplasticity meditation "tibetan monks" "brain scans" structure development.

Following are links to some articles and two paragraphs of each - please follow the links to read the full articles.  Also, I first heard about this through Democracy Now, where you may also find a short video interview with a researcher (I will try to post that link below)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944261/

Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation

Richard J. Davidson, Director and Antoine Lutz, Associate Scientist
In a recent visit to the United States, the Dalai Lama gave a speech at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Over the past several years, he has helped recruit Tibetan Buddhist monks for, and directly encouraged research on the brain and meditation in the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The findings from studies in this unusual sample as well as related research efforts, suggest that, over the course of meditating for tens of thousands of hours, the long-term practitioners had actually altered the structure and function of their brains. In this article we discuss neuroplasticity, which encompasses such alterations, and the findings from these studies. Further, we comment on the associated signal processing (SP) challenges, current status and how SP can contribute to advance these studies.

What is Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is a term that is used to describe the brain changes that occur in response to experience. There are many different mechanisms of neuroplasticity ranging from the growth of new connections to the creation of new neurons. When the framework of neuroplasticity is applied to meditation, we suggest that the mental training of meditation is fundamentally no different than other forms of skill acquisition that can induce plastic changes in the brain [1,2].
 
 

Of Meditation, Monks, and Music: Dr. Davidson Speaks on Systematic Mind-Body Training
 

....Other Effects From Meditation

Dr. Davidson’s group has also studied meditation practitioners with regard to how their practice affects attention—a mental faculty important to processes such as mental focus, perception, memory, and consciousness—and the brain’s circuitry involved.

An NCCAM-funded study by Dr. Davidson and his colleagues looked at the effects of meditation on a task challenging attention and on related brain activity. The type of meditation studied was concentration meditation, which may be described as focusing sustained attention on an object such as the breath or on a small visual stimulus. One group practiced this meditation as part of an intensive retreat, for
3 months and 10 hours per day. They were compared with a control group that had just learned a similar technique and practiced it 20 minutes daily for 1 week. The task on which all participants were tested, before and after their meditation experiences, challenged attention and memory using a rapid series of letters and numbers. All participants improved on this task following meditation, the investigators found. The longer term practitioners, however, improved much more and also showed more efficient use of brain resources important to the task.
 
 

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